Accepted in the beloved.

Lovely Things

Too many times in recent weeks since my Dad’s passing, I’ve taken a pause to reflect on my current station in life. My life has taken a very surreal turn this year; it's unreal.

I’m learning a lot about my Dad through my relatives, those wonderful souls who, for such a time as this, have emerged from the gathering recently. I'm finding how much pleasure I truly take from the realization that God’s timing is much better than what I could ever devise; how perfect and complete are His purposes for my life! He is absolutely sovereign in every possible way. It is almost blindingly sublime, this recognition.

FAITH:

made perfect in weakness

For some time, it was cold over here and my body was reactive - I was cold to the bone. I completed a 12-day juice fast earlier this month. It's a discipline, battling the desires of my flesh, dying to self daily while maintaining focus on God's strength to sustain me. Yet it's a reward each time. His grace and power remind me of my imminent mortality and how much my weaknesses beset me.

"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

#amwriting

on the blog and beyond

Nothing new to report on the blog, or beyond. I do have one short story that has received multiple rejections and is still in the queue at several outlets. I have another one I am feverishly trying to complete in between sudden urgencies that occupy much of my headspace.

Meanwhile, I'm rigorously editing my novel.

A literary agent requested the first 50 pages. I held on to a letter he mailed to me in 2001, two years after I had completed my MFA degree. I didn't have a novel in the works then at all, so when he emailed me after reading one of my short stories a few months ago, it was a pleasant surprise that he was still interested in my new work after all this time, that he had found me again! I remembered his name when I saw it appear in my inbox and I went straight to the paper files and pulled out that letter from 2001.

I'm only counting on God to lead the way. I can't begin to tell you how much work this is. It is mentally consuming. I can't begin to tell you how involved this whole thing is. I spend hours and hours in a hotel lobby writing, researching, getting closer to the mark after the homeschool and the cooking are complete, after my husband returns from work.

#amreading

about suffering

I'm knee-deep in emotional acrobatics. Been reading “Suffering is Never for Nothing” by Elisabeth Elliot. A true joy and comfort for my weary soul.

Elliot asks the question: “Is there a reason to believe that suffering is not for nothing? If there is, it’s not obvious."

In the first chapter of this convicting book, Elliot answers her question via Malcolm Muggeridge:

“Suppose you eliminated suffering, what a dreadful place the world would be because everything that corrects the tendency of man to feel overimportant and over-pleased with himself would disappear. He’s bad enough now, but he would be absolutely intolerable if he never suffered.”

So there you have it, dear friends. Suffering is never for nothing.

creativity, art

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No amount of intellectual satisfaction can ever grant peace.

The deepest truths that I’ve learned in my nearly 44 trips around the sun have been rooted in the deepest suffering, including being raised fatherless. Losing a parent, whom I am barely beginning to learn more about by proxy, carries with it deep wounds. Out of the ashes of those wounds in my heart is a profound and intense walk with the Lord.

F.W.H Myers writes this poem:

Is there not wrong too bitter for atoning?

What are these desperate and hidden years?

Hast Thou not heard Thy whole creation groaning, sighs of the bondsmen and a woman’s tears?

But Job's sorrow can transform even the hardest of hearts: "Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master. Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul;"

O if the Lord can hear a wretched heart like that, He can surely hear mine.

til next time

pruning

Notice I've cut back on the social media.

I've shifted focus this year to take time to get to know my Dad's family more intentionally, personally, and wholeheartedly. Above all things, this is what matters most. I have a flight scheduled for the bay area later this month to meet with my Dad's brother, who didn't know I existed until he met me last month. I look forward to meeting a sister of my Dad's and a cousin or two.

Life is too short to spend it chasing the winds of social change, fickle personalities, and capricious activities. I love my new brethren with a love from above and I truly know that at this time, this is what the Lord will have me to do: to draw closer to those I never had before, to begin anew, and to rest assured that despite it all, I have been accepted in the beloved body of Christ.

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Erendira Ramirez-Ortega

Lakewood Village, Long Beach, CA USA